Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: Biting Cold

(Chicagoland Vampires #6)
Chloe Neill
Urban Fantasy
337 pages
NAL
Available August 7th
Received from publisher for review

Warning: Review contains spoilers from previous books, but no spoilers from Biting Cold.

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye—and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing—among humans or inhumans.

Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest, tailing a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the book for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.


MY THOUGHTS
Biting Cold is a bit more serious and somber in tone than earlier books in the series, the witty banter between Merit and her cohorts subsiding as Chicago faces perhaps its strongest and most lethal foe yet. Luckily for us though, Ms. Neill has returned to us a beloved character, and we greedily devour pages that are missing her trademark humor but are ripe with the romantic tension between Ethan and Merit responsible for our addiction to the Chicagoland Vampire books in the first place. We happily trade some of the laughs for the electric sparks leaping back and forth between our two protagonists, craving a peace and happiness for them we know is not in their immediate future, and loving the return of a relationship that has the ability to make us smile wider than we ever have before while simultaneously frustrating us more than we ever thought possible.

While the end of Drink Deep left us hopeful that a sexy and gleeful reunion between Ethan and Merit would be forthcoming, Biting Cold proves to us that even death hasn’t fundamentally altered Ethan, and he remains indecisive and impulsive—making personal choices in the heat of the moment that hurt Merit and send whatever progress they’ve made back several steps. They are a couple reminiscent of those assigned to Dante’s second circle of Hell, picked up and violently tossed about by the intensity of their attraction while a cruel wind forces them to repeatedly circle one another without ever getting any closer. Merit continually reaches out to Ethan only to have her hand batted away when he allows his fear to overwhelm his heart and mind, and while we may groan when he plays his alpha and Liege card, it’s easy to see that his actions are not just a power play as they might have been three books ago, but rather they speak of a genuine concern for a woman who means more to him than his own life.

Merit is as strong as ever in this newest installment, jumping into danger from the first page and refusing to give up her pursuit of it until we reach the conclusion. We root for her the entire time, whether she’s battling evil, trying to save her best friend, or attempting to untangle the emotionally complicated knot that is Ethan Sullivan, wishing we could could pick up a katana and stand beside her to show the world what we’re made of. She handles the romantic situation with Ethan admirably, wanting to fight him when he pushes her away, but understanding that beating him into submission is a far cry from the willing surrender she wants from him. She gives him time and space when necessary, but also pushes when she sees him hiding behind his fear for her safety, proving to him again and again that she is a match for him in every possible way.

Biting Cold is a solid addition the Chicagoland series, both delighting us and upsetting us with a couple that has an uncanny ability to work themselves under our skin and set up house for the duration of our reading experience. We’re given a complete story in this installment, a lot of our questions about Mallory and Mayor Tate answered while events are nicely set up for the next book, and those readers like me who are more than a little in love with Gabriel Keene and his shifters will revel in their inclusion this story. All in all, Biting Cold, while notably missing in humor, is a joy to read and what’s to come for Cadogan House will no doubt prove interesting.

Rating: 4/5

88 comments:

  1. Oh how I was dreading this book! Ever since she let Ethan die I was kind of mad at her... This really runs deep.
    Also, it's kind of frustrating that they are still struggling with their relationship! Wouldn't you think that it should be enough at some point? Oh and Mallory? I am eager to find out what happens to her, she was one of my fav secondary characters and I didn't like the direction she was going...

    That's just my frustration here... I actually love the series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This series is definitely frustrating, and I know Ethan is going to drive a lot of people crazy in this one, but though I wanted to slap him at times, it seemed to me like while his behavior was familiar, the reasons behind it were very different. And I consider that growth:)

      Delete
  2. Another series you have added to my tbr pile! I think I have been telling you, for a while now, how I need to read it. But, GEEZ! My tbr pile is so huge! Hopefully one day, I could get to it. It sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really enjoy this series! It has its ups and downs, but I adore Merit and company:)

      Delete
  3. I really must catch up on adult books! I definitely need to read this series as well as the Night Huntress series & the spin-off :) I only skimmed through your review since I haven't read the previous books, but Merit and Ethan both sound like fantastic characters- I can't wait to start this series! <3 Glad you enjoyed this installment, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have so many books I want to catch up on Shirley! I need more reading time:) Stupid work, getting in the way of blogging!

      Delete
  4. I really need to catch up. I've only read the first two books. I love the series so much. Wait a second...Danny says that Ethan died? Oh no! Guess that's what I get for reading sequel reviews. Oh well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha yeah, but I think that plot twist is pretty well leaked. Obviously he comes back:)

      Delete
  5. Great review and I am at a crossroad with the series. While I enjoy merit and the gang...It seemed to done the usual ploys and waiting and waiting with Merit/Ethan. I wanted more of the gang. I do agree that this was a somber book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be really interested to see where the next book goes. I could allow for the waffling on Ethan's part in this one because he's never really cared about anyone the way he does Merit, but if it continues in the next book I'll be more irritated:)

      Delete
  6. IS this the last one? I heard Drink Deep had a killer cliffhanger! (People screaming and all) Pity this one isn't that funny that's what I liked about the first one :P


    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, there are more books in the series, but I don't know how many:) And Drink Deep did have an epic cliffhanger!

      Delete
  7. VAMPIRES! Hell yeah! I am so, so, ashamed to say that I've never heard of this series before, but I'm going to change that. Promise. :) Love your reviews, Jenny-girl! Wish I could say more but I've never heard of these books -.- BUT I can say... YOU ROCK, Jenny! Love you face! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first books in this series are really fun, and then they get a bit more serious. I just really enjoy all the characters even though they frustrate me to no end sometimes.

      Also, YOU rock. That is all.

      Delete
  8. Ahhhhhhhhh~ I love this series, and i heart Chloe Neill..:) I still need to read book 5 and now this one so Im a little behind, but I cant wait to finish everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this series too:) Ethan is just so damn irritating at times, but I kind of love that about him. He is who he is, but I do think there's been a lot of growth since he asked Merit to be his mistress in book 1.

      Delete
  9. Holy cow I love this series! Pre-ordered and waiting for it to arrive once it releases. :) Ethan's awesome (though I have violent tendencies when it comes to him sometimes), Merit's in deep and, though I do love the humor, I *would* gladly give it up for more sparks between those two!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do too:) Ethan can be challenging at times, and I often want to kick him in the shins, but I love him and Merit:)

      Delete
  10. MUST. HAVE. THIS. BOOK. :) I've been saving up a gift card to use for this one. That's how badly I want it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've only read the first 2 books in this series, but I definitely remember enjoying the book. I'm glad to hear that even this installment is excellent. You just convinced me to check to continue it, Jenny. :)
    Merit seems to be a great character in this installment and I need to find out more about her. It's too bad that the humor is missing, but I'm glad that you enjoyed the book, Jenny!
    Great review! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was sad her snark wasn't as present in this book, but it fit with what was happening. The books have just gotten a bit darker as they've progressed:)

      Delete
  12. I've seen this series in store sooo many times yet I never pick it up. If you love it though, I think I definitely would. :) I must shorten my TBR pile soon so I can pick this series up!! Great review as always, Jenny. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're just really fun reads I think! And it's nice to have a break from all the YA books sometimes, as much as I love them. I like keeping up with my favorite adult series' too:)

      Delete
  13. I was so crushed when Ethan made another one of his crappy decisions! It just felt like going around in circles, and it was one circle too many, you know? But I knew it would work out and thankfully it did.
    MErit really grew so much through these books and I love that now they're finally equals in every way.
    Amazing review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! I just glared daggers at the book and shook it for good measure, just in case he could feel it:)

      Delete
  14. *sighs and shakes head* Ethan, Ethan, Ethan... Can't live with him, can't live without him.

    I don't know about this series for me, Jenny. I stopped reading in the middle of book three and I haven't really felt the need to continue it. Though I'm glad to hear Merit is stronger and more mature, I know I'd be annoyed as hell with E&M's dysfunctional relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may not be for you and that's okay:) I seem to thrive on dysfunction, not sure what that says about me. :)

      Delete
  15. Hmmmmmm I am so intrigued!! I will definitely pick this one up, but I'm disappointed that there's so much back and forth with Merit/Ethan. I guess it's understandable in some ways, though. And yay shifters!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love the shifters! I wouldn't be sad if they maybe got their own series:)

      Delete
  16. I didn't read your review since I have only read the first book, but I'm happy to see the rating of 4 stars! I didn't love the first book, but UF is often like that. I think I need a couple books before I get invested. I'll have to be sure to pick up book 2.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It usually takes me a little while to get into UF series as well, but this one I liked from the get go. Merit and Ethan definitely drive some people crazy though!

      Delete
  17. I am so sad I haven't had a chance to continue this series. I am cleaning out my pile so next year I can focus on more of what I want to read. I guess though I am glad that I don't have to endure the long wait to have Ethan returned. I feel like I am cheating. I can't wait to see how the reltionship evovles. I am a tiny bit disappointed to hear that takes on a more somber tone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a huge cheater, it's okay. I almost always read the end of a book first. I can't help it. Reader fail.

      Delete
  18. So I want to read it but I will not. Merit has annoyed me too much in the latest books and I seriously hate Ethan

    ReplyDelete
  19. STOP EET!!! I wanna read this series so much and you made me drool all the more. Evil! ;) Oh you are going to get me into this series, aren't you. I have one book (not the first) and so I'm going to have to collect them all!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this series! It can be super frustrating, but I just adore it nonetheless. Can't wait to see what's in store for Merit and Ethan next:)

      Delete
  20. Clearly I've been reading into spoilers a little too literally. I read somewhere that Ethan's character died in one of the books... so I thought, no point in continuing with the series now. So yeah, I gave up. ;) I will need to get back on track soon it seems as this installment sounds fantastic! I'm a little surprised Ethan and Merit are still dancing around each other, but I guess that is Ethan's doing with his pushing Merit away. Anyway, I look forward to this! Great review, Jenny. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've heard so many good things about Chicagoland Vampires, but I've never read it. Merit sounds like a kickass character though. I like my mc's feisty from the beginning till end so I think I'm going to like her a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lol, Jenny, I love how you kept talking about Merit and Ethan as a couple in your review. Me thinks someone really, really loves the romance ;)

    ReplyDelete
  23. This sounds like a great series...but honestly at this point my TBR is so huge that I am avoiding series like the plague (and failing about 75% of the time LOL)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I just skimmed your review, but I was really hoping that "Drink Deep" was a fluke because we got everything that we wanted with virtually no explanation. I'm hoping to get some understanding about the huge plot holes. Your rating gives me hope. :)

    ReplyDelete
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